Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one singing flaxseed’s praise. Cheryl Koch of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center shows it a little love as well:
Flax seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.
Now this is great, but, Koch goes on to say that flax seed oil is also a wise choice. Dr. Fuhrman’s not about to job on that bag wagon. In Can Flaxseed Oil Cause Prostate Cancer he recommends sticking with whole ground flaxseed if you’ve got a hankering for flax. And for good reason, take a look:
So why is flaxseed gaining popularity on the shelves of the local grocery store? Well, maybe people have begun to hear about the reported benefits that flax has on heart health, including lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing platelet aggregation (clot forming). In addition, flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber.
Researchers have found that flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a polyunsaturated fat. It is this essential fatty acid that confers flaxseed's potential heart-healthy benefits and that is helping this ancient crop make an appearance beyond the local health food store.
Hey, be sure to give these recipes a try: Flax to the Max.
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed oil may contribute to increased prostate cancer risk. Fortunately, there is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.
When you consume the whole seeds, not the oil, the results show significantly reduced growth rate of cancer cells, and increased death rate of cancer cells. Another way to safely and effectively contribute to your omega-3 intake is to eat a few walnuts and lots of leafy green vegetables. When you get your essential fats from whole natural foods, you get powerful disease-fighting nutrients in the process that are not found in oils.